Friday, December 31, 2010

Snapshots of 2010

Another year is turning over and this morning I have pressed the rewind button for a little while in order to remember, reflect and rejoice for all the days that the Lord gave us in 2010.  This year has really been a sweet year for our family.  Here are the highlights of our year...

1. Bryant was home more this year!  I mentioned last year that his schedule slowed down the last half of the year.  It seems his slower schedule carried over to 2010.  Even with Bryant becoming qualified to do aerial refueling this year, he hasn't had to increase his number of trips and we have both enjoyed having him home more.

2. I went part time this year and love it!  My slower schedule + Bryant's slower schedule = loving life in 2010.

3. We celebrated 1 year in our new house this year!  Time goes by quickly but in a way this house seems like it has been home for much longer than a year.  We are now finished with all the big projects we wanted to do this year.  Our most recent projects entailed: small updates in the master bath, wood shelving in closets, and painting the exterior of the house.  

4. Miles turned 3 this year.  He's sweeter than ever and his personality is more even.  He loves company more now and only gives a warning bark when someone comes in instead of sounding the alarm.

5. I couldn't leave out our newest addition to the family, our 3 month old niece, Ellie.  Buying for a girl is fun with all the dresses, bows and ruffles!

6. We didn't take a big vacation this year, instead we had our first Staycation!  After all our work on the house, the week at home was perfect.  We did go on several short trips to Pickwick, Muscle Shoals and San Antonio.  Plus, I visited a city I can now cross off my travel list, Vegas

7. Bryant and I both turned 30 + 1 this year and celebrated 8 years of marriage!  He was home for his birthday this year for the first time in several years.  In fact, he was home the entire month of December, a first in 5 years.

8. We joined a new Bible Fellowship class this year.  We absolutely love Eric and Penny Brand.  It is a blessing to sit under such a gifted teacher of God's Word.  We are very excited about the class and look forward to what God has in store in the years to come.

9. We have seen the healing hand of God in the life of a dear friend.  A year ago our sweet friend, April, was diagnosed with breast cancer and today she is cancer-free.  We give our Healer all the praise and glory!

10.  I read through the Bible chronologically this year.  And have just finished reading through the New Testament for the second time!  I read it like a novel from the beginning to the end.  I finally get God's story.

11. My blog celebrated its 1 year anniversary this year and received a new look.  I ♥ Penny Lane Designs.

12. This year I have learned that without faith it is impossible to please God.  It is so simple yet it is so difficult.  It's all He requires.  It's all that matters.  I can lay all the other stuff aside- the things I think are mine to offer God - and all that is left that really matters is if my heart trusts in God.  The trust that completely relies on Him to come through for me and the dependency on Him that drives me to desperately seek Him to give me wisdom for this life.  And as I am living this faith life,  my heart rests in perfect peace knowing my God is able to do exceeding ABOVE all that I ask or imagine according to the Power that works in me.  And my response can be nothing less than a life offered in continual praise to Jesus Christ, who is worthy of power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise forever and ever.

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." - Hebrews 11:6

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Candy Cane Cake Pops


I finally made my first cake pops!  I've been wanting to try Bakerella's cake pops for awhile, and when I saw these festive treats on Hostess with the Mostess I just couldn't hold off any longer.  They reminded me of my favorite candy from Godiva, the Candy Cane Truffle.

I had a lot of fun making these cake pops.  They were time consuming, but now that I've made them and know what to expect I don't think it would take as long the next time.  Adding the red ribbon to the lollipop sticks took an extra 30-45 minutes, but it completed the look.  Plus I didn't have to decorate the pops with any detailed faces, so that saved some time on the other end.  I would recommend adding the ribbon before dipping the cake pop as it's much easier to be precise without cake on the end of your stick!

A few other cake pop tips: Don't forget to add the peppermint extract to the cake batter!  I remembered that minor detail while the first cake was in the oven.  Also, I used paramount crystals as a thinning agent in the candy melts as recommended by a local baking shop.  Without the crystals, my candy melts would have been too thick for that perfectly smooth, Bakerella-style candy coating. 

For the crushed candy canes, I used King Leo Soft Peppermint Stick Candy instead of hard candy canes.  I would definitely substitute the softer candy again.  For the second design with bright red candy melt stripes, I would use a smaller tip next time.  I used the #4 tip on these, and it gave me a thicker stripe than I wanted.


I gave some of these cake pops to co-workers at our Christmas party.  I wrapped them individually with mini treat bags and leftover ribbon.  Then I placed the pops in brown paper mache gift bags that were just the right height for the cake pops to peak over the edge.  Bryant cut small pieces of Styrofoam for each bag so the cake pops would stand up straight while transporting them.  


I didn't know what to expect when I took my first bite of cake pop.  Let's just say there will be many more in my future =)

Shop Local:
Brown Paper Gift bags, Mini Treat Bags, 1/8" Red Ribbon: Hobby Lobby
King Leo Soft Peppermint Stick Candy: Cracker Barrel
Paramount Crystals, Lollipop Sticks, Candy Melts: Mary Carter Decorating Store
Peppermint Extract: Kroger

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Santa's Workshop

I LOVE wrapping presents.  The evenings before Christmas are spent wrapping several gifts each night with either Christmas music or Christmas movies playing in the background. And if I need the channel changed... well, I have a helper for that.

This year Bryant bought me a card table to use for my wrapping station.  How did I ever get by without it?  Puppy decided it was also a good hiding spot - guess he was worried I was going to wrap him too.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Day 37

Since my last update, things are improving slowly but surely for the back patient.  The day before Thanksgiving we visited the neurosurgeon and he verified that B is on the right track with his physical therapy.  His second appointment is in eight weeks to make sure he is progressing as expected.  He won't be flying for three months to give the disc adequate time to heal. 

I don't think we'll ever forget this year's Thanksgiving dinner as B stood up at the end of the table and ate his dinner standing up!  He didn't sit down for the first time until the following week and it was for only three minutes on the way home from PT.  The next week the sitting progressed to 10 minutes.  And this past week he has been able to drive himself around and sit down for meals at home.  As long as he has a break to stretch in between periods of sitting, even if it's just standing up for a few minutes, he then is able to sit again.  He's fine when we're out running errands - the in and out of the car gives him the breaks he needs.  His pain has subsided for the most part and now he is focusing on reducing the stiffness in his lower back.

Last night at my work's Christmas dinner party was the first event of the Season we've been able to attend.  Tomorrow morning we plan to go the worship service which will be another solid hour of sitting for him.  The therapist told him to begin increasing the amount of time he sits starting this weekend and decrease the number of stretches and exercises at home.  He is going twice a week to PT and will continue those visits for quite some time. 

The sunny side of the past few weeks is that we have been together.  This is the first time in the past five years that B will be home for the whole month of December.  He's never missed a Christmas, but this year he won't be missing the weeks that lead up to it.  We also spent his birthday together which he is almost always out of town for.  I've been able to be at home most of this month with him and we've only been getting out when we have to.  We welcome this change of schedule even though it's due to  unwelcome circumstances.  

We are praying for the God of reversals to completely heal B through physical therapy.  "By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong.  It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through Him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see." - Acts 3:16

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The 1st Bake of Christmas

I'm in the mood to bake.  And to decorate.  And to package all my goodies and give them away this Season.  To neighbors, co-workers, family and friends and even doggies.  Yes, I have all my bases covered this year.

I'm starting the Holiday baking frenzy off with something easy - a gift for the neighbors.  Every year I have good intentions to bake for the neighbors but never get around to it.  So this year I decided to start early and split up the baking.  I figured most will appreciate a healthy baked good especially when sweets are too easy to come by this time of year.  I found this yummy recipe for Coconut-Cranberry Muffins from Cooking Light.   Their recipes always seem to turn out great.

I have six neighbors to bake for, but instead of making all the muffins at once I decided to spread it out over the next week.  The batch I made today made 14 muffins, filling up two boxes for the neighbors and leaving four for us.


In a couple of days, I'll double the recipe and take the remaining gifts and we'll have some more fresh muffins for breakfast.  Plus it's nice to have time to talk to the neighbors as we deliver the gifts and not to be in a rush to deliver all of them in one evening. 

I tied a ribbon around the box and added a Christmas card since I had extras this year.  I think in years past I was always concerned with making something elaborate and missed the whole point.  I hope this simple gift is received for what it is.  A small act of kindness for those closest to home.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Man


Happy Birthday to the love of my life!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gifts For Him Under $75


From left to right: Pure Badger Brush, The Art of Shaving, $55, theartofshaving.com; Oil Finish Shot Shell Bag, Filson, $30, filson.com; iPod shuffle 2GB - Silver, Apple, $49, Apple Store; Skipjack Men's Polo Shirt, Southern Tide, $72.50, southerntide.com; G2X Pro Dual-Output LED, SureFire, $65, surefire.com; Cleanshine Quillaja Hair Wash, Molten Brown, $28, moltenbrown.com; Vintage Shark Tie, Vineyard Vines, $75, vineyardvines.com; Smoked Pearl Traveler (20OZ), SIGG, $21.99, mysigg.com; Flannel Shirt, Filson, $75, filson.com; Decision Points, George W. Bush, $18.89, amazon.com; Eau de Toilette Spray 2.5 oz., Polo Double Black, $57, macys.com; Black Lab boxers, J.Crew, $18.50, jcrew.com

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Flipped


Last night we watched Flipped and I loved it!  Too bad they don't make more movies like this one.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gifts For Her Under $50


From left to right: iPhone 4 Hard Cover, Kate Spade, $40, katespade.com; Blacksmith Stand With Dome, Pottery Barn, $49, potterybarn.com; Wally Print Flip Flop, Tory Burch, $45, toryburch.com; Large Pearls of Friendship Sterling Silver Necklace with Pink Pearl-18 inch, Dogeared Jewels & Gifts, $38, Sachi; Ditty Bag in Twirly Birds Navy, Vera Bradley, $25, verabradley.com; LashStash Mascara Deluxe Sampler, Sephora, $40, sephora.com; Leonora Scarf, Anthropologie, $48, anthropologie.com; Purse Spray, Daisy by Marc Jacobs, $45, macys.com; A Perfect World Intensely hydrating body cream with White Tea, Origins, $31, origins.com; Align Ultra Mat, Lululemon, $28, lululemon.com; Pink Grapefruit Soy Candle, Archipelago, $24.50, Post 31 Interiors; The One Year Chronological Bible Daily Devotional Study, Iva May, $25, orders to ivamay@att.net

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Penny the Celebrity Poodle

I've had lots of time this weekend to catch up on reading my favorite blogs.  On Thursday, Bakerella posted quite the unexpected surprise!  Not just because she hung out with Blake Lively while she was in New York or the fact that Blake loves to bake.  The biggest surprise was seeing a current picture of Blake's Maltipoo, Penny!

You may remember when I was looking for my perfect pup on the internet, I wanted a chocolate brown Maltipoo like Penny.  I had seen a picture of Blake and her puppy and was just smitten!

Surprisingly, Penny has lightened up a lot since her puppy days.  I was told that Maltipoos get lighter as they age and when you look at the pictures below you can see how light Miles has gotten since he was little.  While I was googling older pictures of Penny, I ran across a picture of her when Blake first got her... and she's red!  I never realized she had red in her!  I was told that Miles' dad was a red poodle and that is where he got his shade of apricot.  If you want anything other than a white Maltipoo, you need one with some red since that is obviously where their color comes from.  Look how similiar Penny and Miles look when they were younger.  Since Penny is a teacup, she kept her short ears and has more of the Maltipoo face.  Miles has long legs and more of a Poodle face.  Wouldn't they make a cute couple?  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Stocking Stuffers Under $20


From left to right: I Love Macarons, Hisako Ogita, $9.93, amazon.com; Ultra Mentha Lip Shine, C. O. Bigelow, $7.50, Bath & Body Works; French Lavender Bath & Shower Gel, Alba, $8.95, Whole Foods Market; Lip Glaze Set Blissful, Stila, $10, stilacosmetics.com; Take Note Cube in Versailles, Vera Bradley, $16, verabradley.com;  Shea Butter Hand Cream - Travel Size, L'OCCITANE, $10, Sephora; Crochet Ruffle Knee Sock, Free People, $20, freepeople.com; Tea And Toast Butter Dish, Biscuit, $12, Anthropologie; Cashew Crunch, Dinsthul's, $18.95, dinsthuls.com; Mango Pitter, OXO, $13, Williams-Sonoma; Small Rhinestone Stud Earrings, Free People, $18, freepeople.com; Womens French Terry Pajama Pant - Bankers Gray, Gilligan & O' Malley, $14.99, target.com

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday I'm in Love

Merino Cool by Essie


Starbucks Short Cup - the perfect companion for all my Christmas shopping!


Wire Birdcage Ornament from Pottery Barn


The Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Grand Ole Opry House.  Would love to see the Rockettes in New York!


 

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